What should we learn from the life of Jonah?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Proud, stubborn, disobedient, unfaithful, a grumbler, and altogether a bad-tempered, cantankerous old curmudgeon-this was Jonah, whose name means "dove"! Jonah was the son of Amittai, who came from...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

1340324413 Chris Eleam Chris Eleam
Many would think of Jonah as a disobedient prophet, if looked at superficially one may easily draw that conclusion. However God did not appoint Jonah as a prophet because he was disobedient, he was chosen as a prophet because of his desirable qualities. When considering his record as God’s prophet you can see the kind of person he was. Before we discuss Jonah’s fleeing away from his commission, we will first look at his career as a prophet in Israel. Jonah was a prophet to a very unreceptive territory, nonetheless he labored faithfully in Israel, and the prophet Amos who was a contemporary of Jonah described the Israelites of the day as materialistic and pleasure lovers. Certainly detestable practices were taking place in Israel but the Israelites were totally indifferent to them. It was under these circumstances that Jonah had to carry out his commission to preach to the Israelites, day after day he faithfully carried out his commission, it is easy to look at Jonah's weaknesses but we should not overlook his qualities of faithfulness and endurance as he preached to the faithless Israelites.

Jonah’s career as a prophet began in the northern Kingdom of Israel during the ruler ship of King Jeroboam ll Son of King Jehoash (2 Kings 14:23-25). Jonah was directed by Jehovah God to travel a great distance, to the capital of the notorious city of the mighty Assyrian Empire. Jonah was to warn the inhabitants that their city was going to be wiped out. Jonah however did not follow God’s instructions; he boarded a ship and fled in the opposite direction to Tarshish which is very far away from Nineveh. This mission was not easy because Tarshish was about 500 miles on foot that would take about a month. Imagine if you had to preach to a people who were known for their cruelty, how would you feel? Included in their warfare, sadistic torture was common; Nineveh was called the city of bloodshed because boasting about their savagery was common.

Whale of a Story

Jonah displayed outstanding qualities of courage humility and love, we can say this by how he acted on the vessel he took to escape his assignment, likely a Phoenician cargo ship... Disobeying Jehovah's commandment Jonah boarded a vessel that carried him very far away from Nineveh. Here we learn something about Jehovah; he did not give up on the prophet or arrange for someone to replace him. God wanted Jonah to come to his senses and he did this in a most unusual way. A violent storm came up at sea, Jonah and the rest of the sailors were tossed about by waves, Jonah was very worried about the innocent sailors that were about to die on his account. Jonah acted in a dignified and responsible manner, he requested of the sailors to “Lift me up and hurl me into the sea, and the sea will become still for you.” (Jonah 1:12) He may have thought that his God would rescue him at this point, however he had no reason to think that but still he was willing to give his life so that the sailors would not perish.
Jehovah God rescued Jonah from the sea in a Most Unusual Way;, that the Bible simply states: “Jehovah appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah,” the kind of fish not being specified. (Jon 1:17) So it cannot be determined just what “fish” might have been involved. Some think a sperm whale may have been the culprit due to its large head and gullet certainly capable of swallowing a man whole. While in the belly of the fish Jonah had much to think about, Jonah prayed to Jehovah, glorifying him as Savior and promising to pay what he had vowed, Jonah’s prayer is recorded for us in the second chapter of Jonah. On the third day the prophet was vomited out onto dry land.—Jon 1:17–2:10.

 God showed he still values Jonah by renewing the prophet’s commission to preach to the Ninevites. Jonah finally arrives at his destination Nineveh, and the courageous prophet informs the inhabitants that their wickedness has come to the attention of God and that the city will be devastated and 40 days. Jonah no doubt prepared himself for a hostile and violent response. To Jonah's dismay the city is spared because everyone in the city began to put faith in God and “proceeded to proclaim a fast and to put on sackcloth from the greatest one of them even to the least one of them”. The biblical account of Jonah and the Whale is an object lesson well learned by Jonah that God sees what is in the heart. 

Jonah later wrote: “The true God got to see their works that they had turned back from their bad way; and so the true God felt regret over the calamity that he had spoken of causing to them; and he did not cause it.”
The Lesson Taught
Jonah left Nineveh and is very despondent, he may have clung to the hope that Nineveh would still be destroyed; it was time for God to teach Jonah a lesson about being merciful, because he was very hardhearted. Jehovah God caused the bottle-gourd plant to sprout up. The tree was luxuriant, it had very broad leaves and provided more shade from the sun than the flimsy shelter he erected. Jonah rejoiced over the plant perhaps feeling that this was a blessing from God. Jehovah had other intentions for him, he wanted to reach Jonah's heart. Causing a worm to attack and kill the plant, and then sending a parching east wind, this caused Jonah's heart to plummet and he asked God to die. Notice how Jonah respond to the question God asked him, Jehovah asked Jonah if he was rightly angry, this time over the death of the bottle-gourd plant. Instead of repenting, Jonah justified himself, saying: “I have rightly become hot with anger, to the point of death.” The stage was now set for Jehovah to drive home the lesson. God helps Jonah to reason on the matter saying that he was feeling sorry over the death of the mere plant that had grown up overnight; Jonah had no hand in the planting or the growth. Notice how Jehovah reasoned on the matter: “For my part, ought I not to feel sorry for Nineveh the great city, in which there exist more than one hundred and twenty thousand men who do not at all know the difference between their right hand and their left, besides many domestic animals?”—Jonah 4:10, 11.

The object lesson once again, Jonah was helped to see that he placed more value on a single plant than on the lives of 120,000 humans as well as their livestock. Consider Jonah's thinking for a moment would you not agree that it was selfish, he feels sorry for the plant only because he gained some benefit from it, it shaded him. Jonah's anger over Nineveh sprang from motives that were likewise selfish, prideful and a desire to save face to be proved right.
Jonah did learn a valuable lesson, he being given the privilege to write the Bible book that bears his name, imagine the prophet in his homeland writing about his account. As he writes about his rebellion his shortcomings and stubborn refusal to show mercy He is certainly older and wiser and humble, and because of his maturity he sees a vital lesson in mercy that God granted him the privilege of learning.

July 02 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Salem Markus Purba
We should learn from how close was the relationship between Jonah and God. Although Jonah was trying to be disobedient to God, God did not get angry with him, and kept on getting in touch with him. (Jonah 4: 1-11)

All of the believers and followers of Jesus Christ are just like Jonah, we are commanded by Jesus to spread Gospel to the world (Mathew 28: 18-20; Mark 16: 15-16). We should have a close relationship with Jesus as Jonah had with God.

February 28 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

1425480436 Apostles Paul Francis
We should lean from Jonah, because it'll help us how to do our God's will every time when he asks us to do something or when he sends us to preach the Gospel. Also, it will help us to know that it's a must to obey our God! And if we make our neck hard, God himself shall do His will anyway, which will cost you!

February 28 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
At Dallas Theological Seminary we seminary students (all men at that time) had to translate the whole book of Jonah from Hebrew to English in our Hebrew class. (1972-1975). Jonah 1 shows that Jonah was a disobedient prophet running from God Jonah 1:1-11). He tried fleeing from his unwelcome task (Jonah 1:3, "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa, and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." (a key memory verse I memorized from the Thompson Chain Reference Bible-- appendix).

And consequently, he was punished or afflicted (Jonah 1:12-17). HL.
He thought he could avoid God's call by running away. But God will accomplish his purposes, even through reluctant and unwilling servants. HL, LASB

Jonah 2: A praying prophet running back to God and delivered (Jonah 2:10). HL, CIS
Even from inside the fish, Jonah's prayer was heard by God. We can pray anywhere and at any time, and God will hear us. Your sin is never too great and your predicament, your problem, is never too hard for God. LASB

Jonah 3: A faithful prophet running with God and rewarded. In Jonah 3:1-3 Jonah is recommissioned by God. He got a 2nd chance. Have you made mistakes in the past? You may yet have another chance! LASB
And then after Jonah's recommissioning, he became powerful (Jonah 3:4-10). HL
I.e. he became a revivalist (Jonah 3).

In summary, A Disobedient Servant
in Ch.1 Fleeing from God
in Ch.2 Fleeing to God
in Ch.3 Flying for God

March 13 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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